Thankfulness Habit #2

After finding something each day to be thankful for, there are a few more things I find that help me find joy in my life. The next one I want to talk about is ‘things that used to bring me joy.’

When we go through trials, we often find ourselves too busy or too frustrated to do the things that bring us joy. Sometimes it’s too expensive to be involved in those things. Other times, it’s simply been so long that we just plum forgot about the things that we used to love to do. After a while, we may not even realize that we are no longer doing the things that bring us any joy.

I’ll bet, after you just read that paragraph, you have identified a few things you used to love to do. What were they? Is it possible to do one of them now? Some of the things we used to love to do are not a possibility now with the fatigue or pain of chronic illness. Other things might be though. Pick one to do this month.

If there isn’t at least one thing you used to do that would work for you today, think back to things you might have considered but didn’t have the time. Or think about things you could do that might bring you some joy.

Here are some other ideas you can use to surround yourself with things that bring you joy:

  1. Old Tv shows you used to love
  2. Funny memes with silly jokes
  3. Buy things in your favorite color (hey, it works for me!)
  4. Do things that remind you of better times
  5. Take out your children’s old things
  6. I invite you to think up your own if these don’t work for you…

So your challenge going forward is not only to look around to see the joy that God has put in each day to bring you joy, but to search for things to do that will bring joy into your life each day.

Your next challenge is to come back next week for another tip on The Thankfulness Habit.

The Thankfulness Habit #1

November is the time we celebrate Thanksgiving and no blog would be complete without a post or two on giving thanks. But for the chronically ill, being thankful can be difficult. It’s so hard to see the joy in your life when you are dealing with so much, especially when those around you are giving thanks for health, wealth, and close relationships at a big party where they are able to enjoy themselves free from the distractions and frustrations that is the life of the chronically ill.

It’s so hard to think positive when you’re struggling, but it is essential to try to do so or eventually lose all hope. Joy is found in thanksgiving but the trick is to cultivate a spirit that can give thanks. It isn’t easy, but it is possible and it may take some time. My first suggestion for you is: Start small.

The only way to start anything is to start small. Can you find just one thing in your life to be thankful for today? Just one thing. It doesn’t even have to be a big thing. Just SOMEthing. Look outside your window. What is the first thing you see that shows God’s beauty? What’s one thing you see that gives you peace?

Outside my home are beautiful purple flowers. Purple always makes me feel better. I’ve loved purple since practically before I was born. ANYthing purple reminds me of beauty and gives me peace. What is that for you? Is it a color? Flowers? A beautiful sky? Green grass?

Look around at your home? Are their reminders there that give you comfort? After going through tremendous financial issues, I can now look at my house and see security. Not that I own it or because it’s so well built or gorgeous, but simply because I’m not out on the street where I could have been at one time in my life.

If neither of those strikes you with joy or blessing, look at yourself. What could have been worse, but for the grace of God? No matter how much pain or fatigue I feel, just knowing that God could have let me die of a rare and aggressive cancer fills me with thankfulness.

Looking deeper, what issue do others with one of your diagnoses have that maybe you don’t have to deal with? For me, even though my fatigue prevents me from working a job or going out much, I count myself blessed that my pain level is so much less than what others experience with Fibro. What is that for you? Can you feel thankful for that?

Another place to find something to be thankful for is to look at your family. Do you have a spouse that tries to understand and help you? Do you have children who are precious blessings from the Lord? Is there an extended family member, neighbor, friend, online friend, who has been a blessing to you that you can count as a blessing that day?

I’m not saying this is easy because as you look at your life, Satan will redirect you to all the things that are hard in your life or even about that very thing or person you could view and something to be thankful for. But if you look for that one thing each day to be thankful for, you will find them. When you do, you can then challenge yourself to do so each and every day. Find something new or find a new reason to view that one thing as a blessing and joy in your life.

For me, this finding something new in one thing over and over again is a TV show that always makes me laugh. I love the old 50s sitcom I Love Lucy. It always makes me smile. Watching the very same episode can be a blessing over and over again.

Having chronic illness or other chronic issues isn’t fun. Almost nothing about them are even remotely fun, but even so, you can find joy, humor, beauty in the other things around you that, given time to look daily, can help you see the joy. I believe that God puts these things in our lives to help us get through the difficulties we have in this fallen world. So, look for your joys daily and build your thankfulness habit. See if that doesn’t help you find your joy.

Next week I’ll share another step to getting the Thankfulness Habit.

Don’t Give Up On Your Chronic Illness Friend

If you’re just tuning in to my blog, you missed a few great couple of month’s of blog posts. I invite you to scroll through. This one is probably one of the most important.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galations 6:2

I’ve talked so far in this month’s series about being proactive and actively searching for your joy INside your tunnel (There’s light at the end of the tunnel is a saying those with a chronic issue have a hard time relating to.) I also talked about how we need to find our joy so we can keep searching or keep working at our God-given purpose that fulfills us. Last week, I talked about how a lack of joy and purpose leads us to give up on God, though the Lord loves us dearly and has a joyous life for us despite what we cannot do.

While the last three weeks were for YOU, this week is a special Don’t Give Up that is for those closest to you in your life. It’s important that WE keep looking for joy, purpose, and God’s love and support. It’s also important for those around you not to give up on YOU!

I’d love for you to share this particular post with those around you on your Facebook wall, in any of your Facebook pages or groups, and on any other social media as well as email to anybody you feel would benefit by posting it to THEIR friends and family.

Here’s my message to those around you: PLEASE don’t give up on your friends who struggle with chronic illness or any other chronic issue in their lives!

  1. Don’t give up on inviting them to parties or events.
  2. Don’t give up on asking them how they are really doing.
  3. Don’t give up on asking what you can do to help.
  4. Don’t give up on doing the little things to lift their spirits
  5. Don’t give up on being able to learn important life lessons from them!
  6. Don’t give up on them being able to make a difference in this world.
  7. Don’t give up on them in a moment of grief or weakness.
  8. Don’t give up on them overcoming and being a blessing.
  9. Don’t give up on them finding solutions.
  10. Don’t give up on them!

Those of us who live with chronic illness/issues have good days and bad days, but what we don’t have are days when we don’t need our brothers and sisters. What we don’t have is a resolution to being alone. What we don’t want is for us to be forgotten.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galations 6:2

We still have a life to live. We still have a need to be useful, to be included, and to have fun. So, please, don’t give up on us! Don’t count us out! We have a lot to give. We just need to do it on our own schedule.

Don’t Give Up: On God

If you’re a regular Life Beyond Surviving reader, you know that my mission is to support those with chronic illness/issues because the chronic part of chronic illness is what builds our stress, our fatigue, and eventually (unfortunately) our faith. I believe Satan starts by hiding our joy and our purpose. Once that is out of our view, we begin to question why we are here on this earth at all.

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.” – Psalm 136:26

If you don’t see much joy in your life and you don’t feel you contribute in any way to your family or your finances or eternity, you begin to question not only why you’re here, but why God would allow you to go through life held under the thumbs of chronic issues that have left you with so little. I know because I’ve been there myself.

But I’m here this week to ask you not to give up on the Lord. He hasn’t given up on you! If you’ve read the Bible, you know there are many stories of how God used people who were in the middle of trials for incredible purposes. Think of how Paul was never healed and was in prison when he wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. While he was in captivity and suffering with a “thorn” in his side, he wrote to encourage the early churches. God used his trials for a great kingdom purpose and He wants to use you too!

Even if you look at things from a secular perspective, you will see how great things were never accomplished easily. I know Hollywood loves to show a good “rags to riches” story, almost all biographies of successful people have a lot of heartache and struggle in them. I don’t know of anyone who has accomplished great things who didn’t struggle. The more success, the more the struggle. And what’s more amazing with God is that He uses us despite our struggles and sometimes BECAUSE of them!

I’d never be able to help support and uplift those who struggle with chronic illness to the degree I can if I had never had to live through it myself. What do you live with? What do you understand because of your struggles that you can use for the benefit of others?

Once you understand that God can use you, you can begin to see how life isn’t all that useless…all that dark. You can begin to see a purpose and find some joy in what you can do for others or your family and the kingdom of God. It’s at this point that you can begin to feel less of your struggle while allowing you to focus more on the good you can do and feel.

God loves you. He hasn’t abandoned you. He has a purpose for you and a joyous life for you to lead despite all of the struggles and trials life brings you. If you don’t feel that way now, ask Him to show you. Pray for God to show you your joy, your purpose. Once that’s done, you will find yourself growing closer to the Father and that can only lead to more joy and put your troubles further from your focus.

There is a better life to be had. We may not be able to find them on our own, but God is always with us. He loves us and He wants the best for us. Often it takes a relationship with Him in order to see that. I pray you find that in your life. How can I help you?

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.” – Psalm 136:26

Next week, I’ll be sharing part four of this Don’t Give Up series, but this next one isn’t for you as much as it is for those around you! Check back next week for it. You’ll be glad you did!

Don’t Give Up: Your Purpose

So many of us who struggle with chronic things will, at times, feel like giving up for one reason or another. It’s not as difficult to experience trials for a short time, but after several months turns into several years, we often go through times of frustration, overwhelm, and sadness. And not just once, but it may recur several times throughout our chronic lives. This is what prompted me to write this series.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Last week, I shared why and how you shouldn’t give up looking for joy, humor, and beauty in your life that may live side by side with your chronic illness, financial struggles, or other long-lived difficulties. I started with that because that’s where sadness and depression begin. If you lose your joy, in time, you may find you lose your purpose, but as you can see from the above scripture, God gives a hope and a future to each of his children–even those with chronic issues.

I’d like to talk this week about that next step and ask you please don’t give up searching for your purpose. Many people feel a loss of purpose when they retire from a lifetime spent at a job or career. I know it happens less often now as most people find they can’t live on whatever (if any) retirement money they’ve accumulated. However, those of us with chronic illness have found it necessary to retire from jobs or careers and even ministries we once immersed ourselves in.

If you’re like me, you find yourself almost isolated from friends and family and from contact with the outside world. I quit working outside the home due to fatigue and when raising my kids. I have had to stop my online stores, selling on Amazon, and even my freelance writing. I have a tough time driving with my tremors now in my legs as well as my hands so I don’t go anywhere unless it’s to a doctor appointment or if my husband drives me to the store or to church. This was beginning to take its toll as I felt useless not only to my husband (I have some trouble getting enough energy to do housework at times as well) but to anyone else.

But just because you can’t go out, doesn’t mean you can’t find your purpose and work toward something you are passionate about. God has a plan for your life and He is smart enough and powerful enough to take into account any trials He already knows you are experiencing. That being said, each of us has a unique set of talents and experiences God can use to help others in various ways. The trick is to pray for Him to reveal them to you and give it time enough for Him to reveal it to you.

Some ideas for you:
1. Are you online? Social media has its problems, but it is SOCIAL after all. Get involved on a social media group. Start a Facebook group. Find a way to work from home that works for you. I was having a tough time focusing on the topics my writing clients needed as the research was too hard for me to focus on and the deadlines were difficult to meet if I was having a series of fatigue-plagued days. So, I decided to go back to writing what I’m passionate about and offering them for sale on my websites. More about that in later months.

2. Is there a ministry you have a heart for that you could help with from home? Nothing feels as good as being part of a wonderful ministry or charity!

3. Is there someone in your life who needs uplifting? You can start a daily text to uplift them. I did that once for a friend of mine going through some relocation woes with her small children. I texted her an uplifting scripture or a funny cartoon or saying. Know what I found? It uplifted me too!

4. Are you artistic in some way? I know a woman who paints and sells them online. I know another who creates incredibly gorgeous graphics with uplifting sayings. I know another who writes books and gets them traditionally published. What’s your thing?

There are a myriad of things out there if you give yourself enough time, focus and prayer to become clear to you. Drop me a note and tell me what you do or what you’d like to, or what the Lord has shown you after reading this. I’d love to hear!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Next week, I’m going to be sharing about how Satan uses our loss of joy and purpose to lead us to give up on the Lord.

Don’t Give Up Series Begins

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

I thought I’d start the holiday season with a series of blog articles about not giving up. So many have a profound sadness or depression around this time of year because it reminds us of who is no longer with us. It chronicles what we can no longer do or what we no longer have since last holiday season.

Most of those struggling with chronic illness or other chronic issues will come to a time of desperation at some point or another. We all get to a level of discomfort, overwhelm, sadness, or frustration (or all of the above) when we feel we can no longer go on or we no longer want to. In fact, it may happen several times over the course of your life. It certainly has with me!

There are times when I feel like giving up. I’ve never really been suicidal, but I have had thoughts along the lines of, “God, if I meet with an unfortunate accident, I wouldn’t be at all upset! In fact, if you’d hurry that along, I’d be grateful!” But so many with chronic illness or issues feel a deep depression or thoughts of wanting their suffering to end in any way possible. If that’s you right now, I’d like to speak to your spirit this month.

The first thing I’d like to share with you is not to give up looking for your joy. Joy is something that leaves you first when you are overwhelmed, frustrated, and saddened by the long, difficult road of chronic issues. I’ve talked about this many times, but the phrase, “There’s light at the end of the tunnel” really bothers me and angers some with a chronic journey because our tunnel doesn’t end this side of heaven. So, if your tunnel doesn’t end, how can you see the light at the end of it?

Why you should not give up looking for joy:
1. The obvious answer is that without joy life doesn’t seem worth living. Without joy, there is only misery inside of that chronic illness tunnel.

2. Believe it or not, there IS joy inside your tunnel! No matter how dismal, draining, or painful your tunnel is. The beauty that was there around you is still there whether or not you’re looking for it. The grass is just as green and peaceful looking. The flowers are just as vibrant. Your children are just as precious. Your spouse’s smile is just as soothing.

3. The more you search for the joy, the more of it you will find. The more you find, the more it will minister to your soul.

4. The more you find your joy, the more you can share it with others even though you are going through tough times. This ties right in with my article for next week on purpose so I’ll have more on that next week.

How not to give up looking for joy:
1. If you’re going to find the joy, you’ve got to actively search for it. Satan has a habit of hiding the joys surrounding those who are in trials or struggling with things. Depression moves us away from our joy and isolates us from others. Those of us who have chronic illness are isolated enough already.

2. Actively searching for something is very different from casually noticing things so you will need to be conscious of every opportunity to find the humor, the beauty, and the kindnesses as life brings you to them. You must keep asking yourself, “What joy can I see right now?”

3. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. After a few weeks of actively, consciously searching for the joy, you will find yourself able to see it without being active about it.

4. So, challenge yourself to take 21 days to find the joys, the humor, the beauty in each place you find yourself. Here are some ideas for you: Write down what you are thankful for each day. Keep a journal of the beauty around your house, your family, your job, your church, and your situation. What’s funny about the ridiculous situations you find yourself in? What has made you smile each day?

5. And then after 21 days or a month or so, take out your notes and reread them. Take special note of just how many you were able to find.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

Next week, I’ll be sharing about the next thing to leave those with chronic issues: a sense of purpose. Stay with me on this journey. Check back next week and please share this with friends and family.

Four Things Satan Uses Against the Chronically Ill: Conclusion

Satan’s ultimate goal is to separate us from God and he will use whatever he can to distract us, deceive us, divide us, and finally to destroy us, but there are a few things we can do to combat this. Knowing that this is his goal is only half the battle. We also need to know how to defeat his efforts in our lives.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

  1. Be Aware: The first thing we need to do is to be aware that this is what is happening. Most of the time we are so busy fighting for our health and struggling with our daily issues to even notice that this is what he is doing. Chronic illness is the PERFECT target for Satan. It’s much easier to attack the weak and weary. But once we know that this is exactly what he does, we can be on the lookout and be proactive in thwarting his efforts to derail us.
  2. Be in the Word: Don’t let a day go by without reading and feeding your soul. Don’t let a day go by without going into your prayer closet and spending time with the Lord. If you can’t go to church, have church come to you. When I can’t make it out to church, we watch it on TV. I love Dr. Charles Stanley. I even record his sermons to watch later.
  3. Make an effort to connect: It’s easy to let ourselves drift from our support whether that’s family, friends, or church. Make an effort to get out if you can, invite others in, or reach out over the internet. Any time with others on the phone or over text is golden when you are alone with your thoughts on a regular basis.
  4. Find your calling: Find what feeds your soul and adapt it if need be to your health/financial issues. Make art, write those stories, take those pictures, blog about that topic that inspires you. See how many you can inspire, support, help, and feed with your talents. This makes for a productive and joyous heart.

God created each one of us with a purpose. Do you think that just because He has allowed chronic illness or financial struggles in our lives that He has taken that purpose away? No. That purpose may be handled differently or you may have a new purpose.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

No matter what struggle we must endure this side of heaven, God has blessed us with the tools we need to fulfill our purpose. That starts by understanding how Satan works to derail us and taking steps to use God’s Word, God’s people, and your God-given talents to take back your joy. Who’s with me?

Next month, I’ll be sharing a new series that will go a bit more into depth on our purpose despite chronic illness/issues for a series I’m doing called Don’t Give Up! I hope you’ll join me!

Four Things Satan Uses Against the Chronically Ill: Part 4

So Dr. Charles Stanley’s sermon on the four things Satan uses against us that I watched last month really touched me because I felt it applied in a specific way to those with chronic illness.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10

Satan’s ultimate goal is to separate us from God. First, he uses our chronic illness to distract us from our joy and from our purpose. Next, he deceives us into thinking we don’t matter. Then, he divides us from our support (family and friends), our church, and God’s Word in the hope that we will be distracted from God. When he does that, he stands a better chance of succeeding in the destruction of our faith.

At our lowest, we may question if God still loves us. There may be times when we may think that, if God really did love us, He wouldn’t allow us to go through all of this. At that point, we may begin to pull away from our church, our church family, and even God.

Knowing that Satan is out to destroy us, we need to be on the lookout for situations we find ourselves in that are ripe for Satan to use for just this purpose. I don’t know about you, but there are times when I’m so tired I don’t have enough energy to sit up. I am so exhausted that all I want to do is go to sleep. I can’t prevent the times when I’m too tired to go out or in too much pain to do something for someone, but I can control how I react to that.

I’m pretty ornery by nature. If someone tells me I can’t do something, I’m bound and determined to try (unless it’s something I don’t agree with anyway). I’m not saying I always recognize Satan’s tricks at the time or that I can always keep a sunny attitude. I’m just saying that I can decide to do whatever it may take for me to control my attitude and turn it around.

There are still times I am down. I still have times when I get angry and don’t recognize that I have blessings I’m not concentrating on at the moment. But I do eventually notice and I do eventually turn myself around. And I challenge you to do it too. I challenge myself to help you.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10

The way I look at it, if Satan’s desire is to turn me from my Lord and Savior and from my God-given purpose, then it’s my great pleasure to throw it back in his face as I cling even closer to Him and get creative to find a way to serve others according to His will however I can! Won’t you join me?

Four Things Satan Uses Against the Chronically Ill: Part 3

So far we’ve talked about distraction and deception, two of the four things Satan uses to keep us from our joy, our purpose, and our Lord. The next tactic that Dr. Stanley talked about was division.

But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls.” – Luke 11:17

It’s no surprise that one of the most important issues the chronically ill have is loneliness. We become isolated due to the lack of energy and the pain we deal with on a regular basis. That doesn’t allow us the ability to visit with friends and family or even hold a job. Isolation leads to a dividing us from our support system, our church family, our livelihood, and can eventually lead to losing our relationship with our Lord and Savior.

Little by little, we find ourselves alone much of the time questioning if our family and friends really love us. Busyness is a staple in modern life. Parents with young children are busy earning a living and running from activity to activity. People with lots of family around are busy with family events. Working people are busy working their way up the corporate ladder and business owners are busy wearing lots of hats. Very few take the time to reach out to people who they don’t see often.

Even people who aren’t busy don’t usually reach out to those they don’t see often. Top of mind is not just a sales technique, it’s a human rule of engagement. And, by the way, it isn’t just confined to the healthy.

That’s the reason nobody calls us, but there are reasons we don’t call anyone else either.

1. We’re afraid of seeming needy.
2. We are not comfortable asking for help.
3. We may not be able to keep a date to meet others elsewhere.
4. We don’t feel comfortable inviting people over because we may not have cleaned our house in a while.
5. We may not feel like entertaining, but we’d like someone to be with.
6. We don’t have an Any Time friends who we feel comfortable having over to just cry with us.

Once we have successfully, though unintentionally, isolated ourselves from others we begin to question if anyone really loves us. We may question if we are worthy of love.

So, how can we lift our isolation if we can’t get out and be with people? Fortunately, I have some ideas and technology plays a large roll.

1. We can become active in online groups and social media. Just because you can’t see someone’s face, doesn’t mean we can’t socialize! Online groups can help us feel connected. I run one of them on Facebook called, coincidentally, Life Beyond Surviving. Come join us!

2. We can start a blog, visit and comment on blogs that speak to us. Some blogs like this one are specifically for chronic illness, but others, like several others I write, are for fun. Have some fun! Be inspired. Be uplifted.

3. Start texting with friends you can’t get to see. I do that with my children, my family, friends in other states, and even with friends nearby that are not able to get away to be with me.

4. Call people on the phone. Use Skype. Keep in touch any way you can. It doesn’t take being in person to perk up your social life. Just talking to people will keep you from feeling isolated.

5. Ask anyway! Ask a friend to come over. It doesn’t have to be a formal thing that makes you feel you need to spend three days cleaning for. Just ask a friend. Talk to them. Be with them. Don’t worry about the dust. Don’t worry about being a burden. Most of the time, they will be happy to be asked in.

But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls.” – Luke 11:17

Next week, I’ll talk about the final part of Dr. Stanley’s message, but for today, promise me you’ll invite someone over, make a phone call, reach out online, or comment on some social media or blog posts. How about starting with this one? LOL

Four Things Satan Uses Against the Chronically Ill: Part 2

Last week we saw how Satan distracts us from our joy, our family, our ministry or work and even God’s Word as we struggle with chronic illness or issues. The next tactic he uses is deception.

What is the one thing you long for? What is the one thing that helps you get through any trial? What was the one thing that helped you get through the excruciating pain of natural childbirth? What’s the one thing we all need to feel about living any life? Purpose!

So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” – Revelation 12:9

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t have taken the pain of childbirth with no end in sight and no REASON for it. Sadly, that is what many of us live with on a daily basis inside chronic illness. The pain doesn’t end. The fatigue never abates. But worst of all, there is no reason for it and, even more devastating, we feel like we serve no purpose!

I can only speak with any detail about myself, but even though I love the Lord and I work daily to keep my joy and serve others as best I can, I have times when I feel useless. No time epitomizes this more than just recently when my son left for his second year at Purdue this past month.

I usually wake up in joy looking for funny videos and creating memes that poke fun at the weird things that happen. One day, I woke up to an empty house. I thought about how my daughter is married and living in a nearby state giving her all to the things she loves, the job she excels at, and the people in her life. I thought about how my son is working hard making the most of his college years living on campus, running a club on campus, and learning about leadership as he is one of the founding members of a fraternity recolonizing the campus this year. I thought about how my husband works so hard at his job and comes home to do things for me or our children.

What struck me that day was not as much the loneliness which I’ve felt for quite some time on and off, but the pointlessness of my life…or at least what struck me as a total lack of purpose. I used to work full time. At one point, I had three jobs! I stopped working an online business not too long ago due to my growing fatigue.

After watching Dr. Stanley’s sermon that day, I realized that this is one of the Enemy’s tricks he uses to deceive us. He wants us to believe we have no purpose to take away our joy so we give up our dreams without a fight. Even though I had come to accept that I could no longer work outside the house and even though I knew I was contributing with this blog and the Life Beyond Surviving Facebook group, he got me to feel I no longer had a purpose.

I had begun feeling sad, crying during the day, reminiscing about all the things I did, and all the things I thought I’d do when I had more time. Life after 17 years of homeschooling wasn’t supposed to be like this. What I realized is that life may take twists and turns, but no matter what happens I have a purpose in Christ. It may not be grandiose with me appearing on TV or as a YouTube sensation, but it is a purpose none the less.

There are things I know that can help someone else struggling through their trails. And if I can help just one person, that is reason enough not to lose hope and to move forward in joy to reach any and all who need to be lifted up out of their own despair the devil has devised for them.

What is your purpose? Not what did you want it to be. Not what did you think it could be. Not what you spent years training for it to be. What is something you can do right NOW that will make a difference for someone else?

Close your eyes. Find even one thing you can focus on right now that will give you a purpose, allow you to feel joy, and bring something positive to others. Now, open your eyes. What is it?

So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” – Revelation 12:9

Take that, Satan!